How can I get above 90% in my finals?

My examinations begin in April. I have been performing well so far, but I fall just a little short of 90%. Our teachers expect more than from me. How can I get above 90% in my finals?

Appreciate your performance and your interest to do better. It is good to fix a goal for yourself and work towards it. Motivation to do better is good but it should not lead to pressure due to expectations from others. Care should be taken to manage stress. Here are a few tips to perform better:

  • Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals for every day and week.

  • Stay healthy: A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep of at least six hours are very important for mental strength, good memory and high energy levels.

  • Stay calm: Panicking and getting anxious will not help you. Stay focused. Take deep breaths and also keep yourself hydrated.

  • Believe in yourself: Self-confidence is very important when you face and challenge. Replace negative thoughts or fears with more positive ones. Hardwork, self-confidence and perseverance will help you move towards your goal. Remember that you do not have control over your results but you certainly have control over your efforts.


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I can’t focus on anything

I am in Class XII. I have been drawn to my childhood friend for five years now. But I have not the courage to let her know how I feel about her. I thought she was interested in me too. But, recently I came to know from her that she has a boyfriend. She wants to be my friend and not girlfriend. I’m depressed now. I can’t focus on anything. Please help me.

Getting attracted to others is natural. It can hurt when a relationship does not turn out to be what we want it to be. At this stage, it is very important to first give yourself time to accept the situation. Find ways to keep yourself occupied and distracted with positive things. Life is a roller-coaster of events and people. You have the choice of being her friend. Give yourself time to think about this before you decide. Work towards your long-term goals.


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I seem to know nothing about myself

I’m in Class X, and soon my student life is going to change. But I seem to know nothing about myself – my ambitions, hobbies, interests, likes, dislikes etc. I don’t know what do in life. I’m a robotics camper, but can’t decide if I should continue with it and if it will affect or improve my future. My parents are very supportive of my decisions. I’m confused. Can you help me?

You must be applauded for your skills as a robotics camper. When you move on after Class X, sometimes you may not be clear on your future plans and career. Before you decide on anything, it is necessary to identify your interests and skills. You can excel in any field as long as you are clear about your interests and ambitions, and if it suits your personality, passion, skills, aptitude, values and financial background. You must be thankful for having supportive parents.

Meet a career counsellor who will help you identify in a scientific manner the fields that suit you. It is good to think before you decide rather than regret the decision later. Explore, analyze, think and decide.


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No one helps me when I need it

I’m a school student who loves to help people. But no one helps me when I need it. I get a bit depressed because of this. What should I do?

Being altruistic is healthy and it is good to continue helping others. Of course, you must take care to not get exploited because of this. Be aware of the situations when you help others. You definitely gain happiness and satisfaction when you help others. But it is also necessary to understand that we must not help others simply because we expect the same from them. When we have expectations, there are chances for disappointments too. Being assertive is necessary to reduce disappointments. It is okay to ask for help rather than expecting others to understand our situation and act accordingly. It is human to get disappointed, but we can find ways to avoid it as well. Looking at things from a different perspective will help you tackle such situations better. Life is a learning process and we have the freedom to live in a healthy manner.


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What is the career in the field of naval architecture?

From Vasco da Gama’s Sao Gabriel and Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria to the Mayflower, ships have played an important part in history. These vessels have been part of epic voyages, great bottles and discovery of new homelands. Building these mammoth structures to survive fiercestorms and giant waves is the job of naval architects. They are responsible for the design, construction and the repair of the ships and other marine vessels, including offshore and floating structures. Militaries, commercial ships and maritime companies need ships that are sea-worthy and environment-friendly, and this has driven the demand for naval architects. So if you have a fascination for marine vessels and an eye for detail, the field of naval architecture could be the perfect choice.

How it works

Naval architecture is the science of designing and manufacturing of sea-going vessels. It is a branch of marine engineering. Naval architects can build a variety of marine vessels, including fishing boats, barges, submarines and ships. They take the ultimate responsibility of the safety of the vessel.

Building a ship is a team effort that requires inputs from different types of engineers and professionals. The naval architect ensures that all of them work together to build a strong and sturdy vessel.

Required skills

  • Knowledge of different branches of engineering

  • Mathematical ability

  • Creativity and eye for detail

  • Ability to co-ordinate with other professionals

  • Communication skills

  • Patience and time management

  • Sound judgment and leadership skills


Naval architects are involved in a variety of work that can be classified into design, construction and repair, consultancy, marketing and sales. Ships and yacht builders, offshore companies and engineering and design consultants need naval architects to design new vessels. Major equipment manufactures also employ naval architects to design products such as propulsion systems and auxiliary systems. A naval architect also oversees ship yards where marine vessels are built, repaired, inspected and tested.

What to study?

Several engineering institutes offer Bachelor and Master of technology (B. Tech and M. tech) in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering. You need to clear the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) for admissions, while some have their entrance examinations.


  • Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam: B. Tech and M. Tech in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering; B.Sc Ship Building and Repair

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras: B. Tech and M. Tech in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering.

  •  Cochin University of Science and Technology: B. Tech in Naval Architecture and Shipbuilding.


  • Newcastle University, the U.K.: M.Sc and PG Diploma in Naval Architecture.

  • University of Southampton, the U.K.: M.Sc in Marine Technology.

  • University of Strathclyde, Glasgow: M.Sc in Naval Architecture.

  • University of New Orleans, the U.S.: B.Sc and M.Sc in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.


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My school keeps stressing that non-performers will not get admission

I am a Class X student. I do well in studies, but I’m worried about my Class XI admissions. My school keeps stressing that non-performers will not get admission to Class XI even if they are from the same school. I feel anxious about this. It is disturbing my peace and concentration.

Every school has its own rules for admissions. It is wise to not get worried about the outcome now. You will feel better when you have put in the your best effort. You might not have control over the consequences but definitely you have control over the your plans and preparations. You can analyse your admissions after your examinations. This way, you will not feel guilty later for not preparing well.


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I’m very anxious about how much I will score

I’m very anxious about how much I will score in Class XII. I have been studying really hard, but my future depends on my marks. My parents and those close to my family make me feel nervous about the results.

Anxiety about your results should not affect your performance. Relax. Of course, marks are important but now you must focus only on your performance. Understand the fact that you can put in hard work to get good results, but you cannot predict your results. Parents’ anxiety is understandable but they should not make their children nervous. Handling their own anxiety is essential. You could discuss your anxiety with them. Regular breathing exercises, some physical activity, nutritious food and a relaxed mind are essential now. Do your duty and plan your future. Marks are not the end of your life. You have a number of courses now and you can plan your path after your results.


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I need a break

I am a Class X student. I’m just completing my Boards after a year of hard work and very little sleep. My parents are already setting up tuitions and teachers to teach me ahead of others for Class XII. It is driving me mad. They tell me my future depends on this. Though I understand things from their point of view, I know I need a break. How can I convince them?

I understand that you have worked hard and need a break before you get into your preparations for your next class. Have you decided which group you will take up in Class XI and what your goal is? Your parents are anxious about your future. Of course, you need to plan your future but you also need a break before you start preparing for Class XI and XII. Are your parents concerned that you should not get distracted? Talk to your parents and give them the confidence that you will start your preparation after recharging yourself. They should not get carried away by looking at other families. A good family holiday may help all of you relax and get back to work. The mind needs relaxation to work peacefully.


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I tend to wake up in the middle of the night with a lot of anxiety

With my annual examinations approaching, I tend to wake up in the middle of the night with a lot of anxiety. Please help.

Anxiety is very common among students during this time. You should know to manage your anxiety. Here are a few tips for it:

  • Prepare ahead by working on sections of the content each day.

  • Plan your schedule to both study and revise.

  • Use model examination papers as an opportunity to manage anxiety.

  • Identify your anxiety early by noticing your physical responses.

  • Try replacing unhelpful thoughts with more encouraging self-talk by challenging negative thoughts. Think positive.

  • Practice focusing your attention on the task at hand (mindfulness), rather than getting tangled in your anxiety and thinking of the “what if?”

  • Remember to pay attention to your sleep, nutrition, exercise and relaxation routine. Go out for a walk to refresh yourself.

  • Avoid distractions of any kind. Reduce screen time and the use of gadgets.

  • Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing before and during examinations. Pay attention to your own pace, and forget about the other students in the hall.

  • Focus on calm breathing and positivity. Deep breathing can slow down a beating heart or a racing mind, so practice breathing techniques. The very act of concentrating on breathing and thinking can alter those anxious feelings. Good luck!


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What is the career in the field of gender studies?

We know that gender roles – how society expects us to behave as men and women – affect every stage of our life. Recently, sociologists are exploring links between gender and climate change.

This has created a new and exciting field known as ‘Gender and Climate Change’, which looks at the impact climate change, has on men and women. This has opened up more opportunities for those interested in Gender Studies.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), men and women experience climate change differently. This is not a result of the inherent biological differences between the two sexes, but the gender roles that society thrusts on men and women.

A woman in a poor household in Jharkhand has a different experience of climate change than her husband, because of different opportunities, resources and decision-making power available to them.

Understanding gender dynamics plays a key role on providing aid to the communities affected by climate change as well as framing policies for the future.

So if you are interested in making a difference, you can opt for Gender Studies at graduate and postgraduate level.


Studying the impact of climate change on gender can help you join advocacy groups and think-tanks working for communities affected by climate change. You can also work with global agencies such as the IUCN and United Nations. Non-profit organizations and institutions also look for professionals with a background in Gender Studies. The subject can even help journalists covering environment and climate issues.

How it works

The discipline of gender studies critically examines how gender shapes our identities, our social interactions and our world. It allows students to develop a framework for thinking about power relations connected to social constructions of gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, age, and nationality through multiple perspectives and theories.

There is a growing interest in studying the relation between gender and climate change. The United Nations is advocating for more research in this area and the University of Cambridge in the U.K is currently one of the few that has already started working on it.

Required skills

  • Sensitivity

  • Interest in social sciences

  • Research skills

  • Communication and writing skills

  • Understanding of sociology and psychology

  • Analytical and problem solving skills.

What to study?

Many universities across the world offer graduate and post graduate programmes in Gender Studies. Some universities offer Gender Studies along with Women’s Studies, while many also offer it separately. Foreign universities offer a much better diversity of subjects along with Gender Studies such as Sexuality, Law, and International Relations. Depending on your interest, you can opt for a Master of Arts (M.A.); Post Graduate Diploma (PG Diploma) and certificate courses in Gender Studies.

Where: India:

  • The Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women Studies, Jamia Millia, New Delhi: M.A. in Women’s Studies

  • Savitribai Phule Pune University: M. Phil in Gender and Women’s Studies; M.A. in Gender, Culture and Development Studies; PG Interdisciplinary Diploma in Gender, Culture and Development – One year, full time; PG Interdisciplinary Certificate Course in Women’s Studies –part time.

  • Alagappa University, Bengaluru: M.A. Gender Studies; M. Phil in Women’s Studies; Ph.D in Women’s Studies; Certificate Course in Gender Studies; and PG Diploma in Gender Studies.


  • University of Bristol, the U.K.: M. Sc in Gender and International Relations

  • The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London: M. A. in Gender Studies, M.A. in Gender Studies and Law; M.A. in Gender and Sexuality; and M.Phil/Ph.D Gender Studies.

  • University of Leeds, the U.K: M.A. Gender Studies


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What is the story of Aphra Behn?

About Aphra Behn

Details on Aphra Behn’s personal life are scant, because she meant to leave it that way. She was born Aphra Johnson, possibly near Canterbury in 1640 AD. Not much is known of her parents –one story goes that her father was a barber and mother, a wet nurse, and another is that her father’s name was Cooper. Although it is sure there was a Johnson in her early life, it is uncertain if he was her biological or adopted father.

Aphra travelled with Johnson and his wife to the West Indies in 1663, where he passed away. Aphra and her mother lived in Surinam for several months, and this left a lasting impact on her. Her most famous work “Oroonoko” is about her time there and her friendship with a prince of the indigenous people.

When she returned to England in 1664, Aphra married Johan Behn, a merchant from writing name remained Mrs. Behn.

By 1666, Behn was attached to the court of King Charles II and was a spy in Antwerp. Her code name was Astrea, and it is said that the cost of living as a spy was shockingly high and that Charles II was a slow payer (if he paid at all). She returned to England under a lot of debt and petitioned the King’s Company and Duke’s Company. Her first play “The Forc’d Marriage” was shown in 1670. She eventually went on to become a successful comic writer.

A woman with few like-minded contemporaries, Aphra was a trailblazer at a time when women wrote as a hobby and their work was accompanied by a warning that it was written by a member of the ‘fair sex’. She was unapologetic and did not ask for acceptance, constantly working outside gender-based roles.

Aphra wrote 19 plays in all, becoming one of the most popular and saught-after dramatists in Britain. In her final years, her health began to fail due to poverty and increasing debt, although she wrote as ferociously as ever. Aphra died in 1689


This poem by Aphra talks about love’s power over humankind.

O Love! That stronger art than wine,

Pleasing delusion, witchery divine,

Won’t to be prized above all wealth,

Disease that has more joys than health;

Though we blaspheme thee in our pain,

And of thy tyranny complain,

We are all bettered by thy reign.

What reason never can bestow

We to this useful passion owe;

Love wakes the dull from sluggish ease,

And learns a clown the art to please,

Humbles the vain, kindles the cold,

Makes misers free, and cowards bold...

Did you know?

Virginia Woolf, in her iconic book “A Room of One’s Own”, mentions what women owe Aphra Behn. She says, “All women together poght to left flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.”


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What is the career in the field of osteoarchaeology and palaeopathology?

When the mighty Mount Vesuvius erupted nearly 2,000 years ago, it devoured everything in its path. The Roman city of Pompeii thriving on the fertile lands around the volcano turned to dust within seconds. Years later, when the buried city was rediscovered, it was found that most of the remains of the city and its residents, were surprisingly well-preserved. By studying the skeletons and other remains, archaeologists were able to put together a detailed account of what the ancient Romans looked like, their lifestyle and even their last moments.

That marked the beginning of the field of osteoarchaeology and palaeopathology, an emerging field of archaeology.

Human osteoarchaeology is the scientific study of human skeletons excavated from archaeological sites. It can tell us about the health, lifestyle, diet, mortality and the physique of people in the past.

Many universities in India and in the U.K. offer postgraduation in Human Osteoarchaeology. So if you are interested in unlocking the rich stories of the past, this could be a promising field.

How it works

Osteoarchaeologists study human remains, while Palaeopathology seeks to understand the nature and scope of past diseases. From studying the mummified remains of ancient Egyptians to assessing the impact of major diseases in history, osteoarchaeology and palaeopathology are crucial to every major archaeological investigation.


  • Archaeological contractor

  • Independent archaeological consultant

  • Local government

  • National heritage agencies

  • Private museums and charities

  • University archaeology departments

Required skills

  • A passion for history

  • Scientific knowledge

  • Patience, analytical and observational skills

  • Willingness to carry out field work

  • Communication skills

What to study?

To get started in the niche field of osteoarchaeology, a background in history is a must. In India, the subject is taught as part of the postgraduate course in Archaeology. However, universities in the U.K. offer specialization in Human Osteoarchaeology.


  • Deccan College, Pune and Allahabad University: Master of Arts (M.A.) in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology

  • Nagpur University: M.A. in Archaeology

  • University of Edinburgh and university of Sheffield, the U.K.: Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Human Osteoarchaeology.

  • Reading University, the U.K.: M.Sc. Professional Human Osteoarchaeology

  • Durham University, the U.K.: M.Sc. Human Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology


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What is the career in the field of product design?

At its best, writing is a fine art. A tool for storytelling over the ages. It’s fitting, then, that the making of writing instruments too is an art in itself. And it’s the product designers who make it happen.

Right from a simple toothbrush to a complex spacecraft, all products that impact our everyday life are designed by product designers. This includes designing writing instruments too – fountain pens for school or work and exclusive stylograph for special occasions to luxury designer pens and collector’s items.

Despite the ubiquity of digital communication, a pen never goes out of fashion. Designer and luxury brands, continue to be in demand. Some of the major brands have also come out with digital pens that can write on augmented paper, which digitizes handwritten work.

With design being the focus of this industry, there is a lot of demand for designers who can come up with elegant designs. Designing luxury writing instruments and products can be a perfect choice for the creative minded.

Required skills

  • Understanding of aesthetics and functionality

  • Creativity and patience

  • Strong design abilities

  • Communication skills and ability to work in teams

How it works

Product designers work in a variety of fields, including furniture, architecture and technical design. Among these, designing writing instruments falls under technical design.

Manufacturers of writing instruments approach designers and design studios to come up with new designs for their products. The designers work closely with the manufacturer’s engineers and craftsmen to design a pen that matches the company’s vision and the client’s needs.

Many luxury brands such as William Penn, Mont Blanc and Lamy have offices in India.

What to study

Many institutes across the country and overseas offer a variety of courses that teach how to design writing instruments, as part of product design. Most of the Indian institutes offer a Bachelor of Design (B.Des) and Master of Design (M.Des) in Product Design. Some of them teach product design as part of Accessory Design and Industrial Arts. In universities abroad, product design is part of Bachelor (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programmes.



  • National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad: B.Des and M.Des in Product Design

  • Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune: B.Des in Product Design

  • Indian School of Design and Innovation, Parsons, Mumbai: B.Des in Product Design

  • National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi: B.Des in Accessory Design

  • Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru: B.Des in Industrial Arts and Design Practices

  • MIT Institute of Design, Pune: B.Des in Product Design Abroad

  • The New School, Parsons School of Design, New York: MF.A in Industrial Design

  • Rhode Island School of Design, the U.S.: BFA and MFA in Industrial Design and Furniture Design

  • University of Applied Arts, Vienna: Masters in Industrial Design

  • University of the West of England, the U.K.: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Product Design


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I’m unable to understand my friends

I am in Class VII. I hail from a northern State, now study in a southern State, and I’m unable to understand my friends. They constantly contact and disturb me via social media. Also, every day I leave home by bus at 6:45 a.m. and come back at 6:45 p.m. I want to secure the first rank in class. How can I manage to do it with all these?

Cultures and values differ when you come from a different place, and it takes time to understand others. Give yourself time. Show interest in their activities, but be clear on your values and boundaries. Never cross your limits or be exploited to make friends. A healthy friendship is very important. Being a good listener can help you understand them better. Choose friends who value your interests. As for your studies, your day is hectic and so it is essential to use your time efficiently. Do not compromise on your sleep, food and extra-curricular activities. Make use of travel time to complete everyday lessons. Set aside time to finish your writing since you cannot do it during travel. Also, try to make friends during your travel if you are commuting by your school bus. Spend quality time at home with your family too. You are very young and it is not good to get influenced by social media. Do not be harsh with your friends when they disturb you, express your opinion in a gentle manner.


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I’m attracted to the daughter of a teacher in our school

I am in Class IX. I’m attracted to the daughter of a teacher in our school. But her father is very aggressive and strict, and I don’t know how to express my feelings towards her. I am also afraid of her response. I am not able to deal with this, and my friends are making fun of me. How can I overcome this feeling?

Such feelings are very natural at this age. It is not easy to express your feelings and emotions. It is a stage of transition and also of doubts and confusion. The best way to overcome it is by staying calm. You have a lot of things to achieve in life and it is not good for you to lose focus at this age. You feel that the girl’s father is very aggressive and that he will not be able to understand your feelings. So, weigh in the consequences before you act. Don’t forget about your future. The relationship with your teacher and your behaviour as a student are also very important. Don’t be haste in judging your feelings. She can always be a good friend who can support you. Time will offer the best solution.


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